Every once in awhile we come across spell ingredients that are difficult to obtain. Here are some common examples and solutions:
You need to have a particular herb or oil for a spell or ritual. If you don’t have access to an herb you can substitute it with an essential oil. (Always be sure the oils you buy are 100% pure essential oils. Scented oils do not work as they don’t have the plant’s essence). In another instance you may come across and oil that you need but can’t afford to buy. Rose oil comes to mind immediately as well as chamomile. It’s hard to justify dropping $50 on an oil you will only use a few drops of on one or two occasions. This is when you can substitute incense for the oil, (or the herb itself. Dried herbs are good too, but can sometimes be difficult to find). Incense is inexpensive and usually comes in bundles of 10 for a few dollars.
Depending on how the spell is written you may need to change the words around. Oil for herb, herb for oil, smoke etc. You can also just state the correspondence. For example “with essence of rose…”
Candles can usually be found in a variety of colors. Check your grocery stores, dollar stores, Walmart, home decor stores etc. for all different colors. Each season you can find certain colors that may be harder to find other times of the year. This is when I pick up one or two colors and set them aside. Wrap the candles in tissue paper so they stay nice. Once in awhile though you will need a color that you can’t find. Even at the occult shop I go to regularly; I have had a hard time finding brown and grey candles. Silver only seems to be out around Yule. So when you are stuck for a color you can always substitute white. This is pretty common knowledge. Don’t overlook tea lites, birthday candles, emergency candles etc. A white tea lite can be substituted in just about any spell. Birthday candles can be picked up at the grocery store. I’ve even seen them in black. When I shop at Loblaws here in Canada, they actually have really high quality pillar candles that I find are cheaper than the occult shop. Witches tend to be very resourceful so think outside the box.
Another difficult item to find are certain types of gemstones. Some are very expensive and others are elusive. Check out your local “rock shop”. Many cities have them and you can buy stones pretty cheaply. I also find tons of cool stones at the Toronto exhibition. Last year I got 6 moss agates for $5! In a pinch you can substitute herbs with the same properties in place of the stone.
Tools. I see too often new witches that go broke thinking they have to buy all of their tools at once. You can do very effective magick with minimal tools. The tools, at the end of the day are just props. They help to focus our minds on working magick, but the tools themselves don’t make the magick work. You do! Your finger works just as well in place of a wand or athame. A wine glass works as well as an expensive silver chalice. Any notebook makes a good Book of Shadows. (Especially if you can draw or print out nice pictures to glue in to it.) The bookstore sells nice journals you can use for a BOS. In this modern age many witches have their BOS’ in their computer and upload the files to their tablets. A fireproof dish with sand in it is a great incense holder. Use your imagination. Often in our paths out tools find us. So don’t worry if you don’t have something. Use what you do have (yourself!) until something comes to you. It is your personal power will and faith that creates effective magick.
The best book I have ever bought is “Holland’s Grimoire of Magickal Correspondences” By: Eileen Holland. This book is laid out beautifully based on the subject and it lists all the correspondences for elements, days of the week, moon phase, crystals, stones, herbs, gods, colors etc. etc. a really wonderful resource to have. With a book like this it is easy to find substitutions for absolutely everything you could possibly need right at your fingertips!
How resourceful are you? Leave a comment of your best and most inventive substitutions!